Karl from the city went to work cleaning the mess he made in the kitchen as Franco and Cheise Karn Mouise looked on. When he finished, he rinsed out the towel and washed his hands in the kitchen sink. “Well, I suppose I should get going now before they wonder if I went AWOL,” he said to them.
“Can I have a hug before you go Karl?” Franco asked with open arms.
The man eyed him, confused, and wondering. He looked around to make sure no one was watching but then again nobody could have been.
“All right,” he said. “Bring it in.”
“Oh yippy!” Franco squealed, and he wrapped his arms tight around Karl’s body and snuggled him lovingly.
“All right, all right, that will do, mister. Thanks for saving my life. You both take care now. And be sure to clean up your yard before they send someone else a lot less understanding.”
Karl limply smiled at them, went to the door, opened it, and walked out into the mean world.
“Well,” Franco said to Cheise Karn Mouise. “Now that that’s over with. Let me ask you one last time. Are you still planning on staying here to watch your stupid football while I go have a sparkly good time shopping?”
Cheise Karn Mouise looked up at him with little expression. “Yes.” Then he turned and disappeared into the other room.
Franco yelled after him. “Fine! I’m going now. You may choose not to be happy, but don’t rain on my parade. I’m going to be so gay they’re going to have to wipe the smile right off my dead body!”
The front door eventually slammed and Cheise Karn Mouise was all alone in the house, nice and snug in a comfortable chair, and he was glad for the peace and quiet.
After a while, Cheise Karn Mouise fixed himself some microwave popcorn and an iced grape soda before getting back to his football. He watched one game, then another, and was then into his third when he realized Franco had not returned home yet. He clicked off the watching devices and the house was eerily silent except for a lonely low hum of electricity throughout. The light of day was beginning to crisp over. He was oddly worried and went to a window and looked at the street. Franco’s car was still gone. Cheise Karn Mouise tried calling him on his cell phone but there was no answer. He began to think something bad had happened, but he decided to just go ahead and take a nap on the living room couch. So what if he wasn’t home yet? he thought to himself. Franco’s a grown man who can take of himself. Besides, they had gotten into a fight, and he was mad, and he had to play the little game of acting like he didn’t care even though he did care. It was a lot of emotions for a small puppet to juggle. Being really alive, he decided, was tough sometimes.
And that’s when he started to cry before he fell into a deep sleep and he dreamt about how he was first created, how he had once been nothing but pieces of a puppet that had to be assembled. He dreamt about how it took the thoughts of some human being in a wood shop down in the snug of Lyon, France to come up with the idea, the design, and to finally carve, shape and birth him into the living world before shipping him off simply for the entertainment of others. He truly was a puppet in a world with countless opinionated hands.
It was later when his phone rang, and it startled him awake. He fumbled in the darkness for his puppet cell phone. “Hello?” he sleepily mumbled.
Franco Dellaronti was crying on the other end.
Cheise Karn Mouise sat up. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“They beat me up!” Franco said, whimpering.
“What!? Who beat you up?”
“Just come get me. I’m at the First Church of Loving Goodness on 37th Avenue. I’ll be the one bleeding on the steps out front.”
“I should call an ambulance for you.”
“Just come get me!”
Cheise Karn Mouise went to the garage and jumped in his dream car — a Kia Soul specially made for puppets with souls. He activated the garage door with a press of a button on a remote, fired up the car, and tore out of the driveway like a puppet with purpose. “Don’t worry my human friend,” he said aloud to the kaleidoscopic dash. “I’m coming to get you!” and he cranked the volume of his favorite song — Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People — and he drove along to the beat like a ferocious dancing wind to get to Franco before he possibly died.
When his GPS had finally guided him to the church, he saw Franco Dellaronti slumped on the stairs out front, leaning against a silver rail. He worked himself out of the Soul and ran over to him. His master was a bruised and bloody mess, and he carefully shook him a little bit. “Hey man. I’m here. Jesus… What happened?”
Franco looked at him with a dazed expression. “I wanted to say a prayer for you. I wanted to pray that you find true contentment in your puppet life and be gay all the time.” He turned his head and looked at the doorway of the church. “I was in there, giving my prayer and they were going to start a night service and then they told me I had to leave.”
“What on earth for?”
“They said I was a sinner and that I was destined for hell. They said Jesus hates people who are gay. And I wondered, how could Jesus possibly be against someone being happy? Anyways, I didn’t want to leave. I told them I wasn’t finished praying yet. That’s when a group of the church men grabbed me and threw me to the floor. They started punching me in the face, and then the women there and even some of the children started kicking me and spitting on me. I think someone threw a Bible at me. They looked right at me and told me God hated me and that they hated me, too. Then they hustled me outside and dumped me, and I’ve been sitting here all wumbly bumbly and half bleeding to death ever since. Why did they beat me up for just wanting to pray for my beloved puppet friend to be happy?”
Cheise Karn Mouise sadly sighed and then said, “Because they’re hypocritical assholes.”
“I just don’t understand, Cheise Karn Mouise. I just don’t understand.”
“I know. Neither do I, but don’t worry about that now… Let’s get you home. Where’s your car?”
“They set it on fire.”
“Yes. They wanted me to witness the burning. They told me it was a preview to my own personal hell.”
“What horrible people.”
“Yes. I’m going to see a lawyer about all this,” Franco said.
“Good. Can you walk?”
“I’ll manage. Thanks for coming to get me.”
“I should have come with you in the first place. I’m sorry for acting like a dick.”
“Oooooh,” Franco managed to happily squeak through his pain.
“Zip it,” Cheise Karn Mouise said, then he laughed. “Let’s just get out of here.”
They rode in silence for a while until Cheise Karn Mouise suggested they get a late-night treat. He thought it would help cheer Franco up a bit. “How about some ice cream? And not that yogurt crap. I mean real ice cream. Are you in the mood for some 24-hour Cream King goodness?”
Franco Dellaronti brightened through the pain. “Cream King? Absolutely. I want to get something super swirly.”
Cheise Karn Mouise shook his head. “God that’s gay.”
Then the puppet with soul gripped the steering wheel of his ultra-cool Kia Soul as he plowed the night streets, and he was glad to be in a fairly decent mood, his good friend and master at his side, badly beaten, but still alive. Then something in the sky caught both their eyes, and they saw magical electric Jesus riding a bicycle, and he gave them a friendly wave and smile before rising and flying off across the face of the blue-white moon — like an E.T. kid — on his way to space Heaven.